Swiss unions call for 4.000 franc national minimum wage
The Swiss Trade Union Federation (SGB) has demanded a 4.000 Swiss franc minimum wage to kickstart the economy and combat inflation.
A Swiss national minimum wage is hoped to boost economic recovery
The SGB announced the plans in a press release, in which they said that the last two years had been especially challenging for blue and white-collar workers. They argued that sectors that kept the economy afloat and the workers in the healthcare system should get a salary increase to reflect their role in stabilising the economy.
Switzerland does not have a national minimum wage, but some communities like the city of Zurich have enforced their own. These new proposals would mean workers would earn at least 25 Swiss francs an hour on a full-time work contract.
Alongside plans for a new minimum wage were demands of at least a 2 percent increase to workers' wages in all sectors. Chief economist for the SGB Daniel Lampart said the increase was “1 percent for productivity, 1 percent for inflation.” He noted that a rise in prices through inflation would make a widespread increase in wages necessary, especially as entrepreneurs in many sectors of the economy have benefited from the pandemic.
COVID-19 pandemic widened the wage gap between women and men
With the plans for a new minimum wage come demands for greater wage equality between men and women. According to the Federal Statistical Office, women earn 19 percent less on average than men in Switzerland. The SGB has said that the pandemic has brought progress towards equality in this area to a “grinding halt,” with the wage gap increasing in fixed-term contracts over the pandemic.
The SGB concluded that the increase in wages would kickstart the economy and repay workers in hospitals for their work during the pandemic. The union hopes to put forward its ideas to the government, alongside a demonstration organised by doctors and healthcare workers, due to take place in front of parliament in Bern on October 30.